Thursday, May 31, 2012

Technical difficulties

I don't have a way to get pictures off my camera right now, but I did figure out how to upload photos from my phone to flickr. I keep accidentally deleting them before they are finished uploading, but that's a different problem. As is the fact that I can only upload video to plus and a small selection of services I don't use, like youtube. I'm feeling constantly overwhelmed, and there's not enough time to get everything done. I can't vacuum the stairs because I don't know where an extension cord is and there appear to be no outlets anywhere near a stair case. One of these days we'll get back in the swing of life. So what has been going on?
Rock on?
Davis fits the Iron Maiden onesie! He is also army crawling all over. Especially if you put something electronic in front of him.
Sitting!
He's also staying upright if you get him in a sitting position. At least for a little.
I'm in a submarine!
Moira and I are spending our days out and about, for the most part. She went to her first arcade, and thought it was pretty fabulous. She got some princess tattoos, the first of which is still on her arm, with no obvious deterioration a week later. She's started to ask when it will finally come off.
Blue trees
I've been accidentally keeping Moira on the verge of exhaustion. When she almost falls asleep on the bus on the way home, you know it's been a big day. Admittedly, she was much of the reason we ran to the farthest ends of the Seattle Center three times, but still. I have an awesome shot of Pearl and Moira enjoying one of the fountains there, but it's one of the ones I accidentally deleted while uploading it.
Davis helps Daddy rock harder
We all enjoyed the forced at home time provided by Walker's first on call shift in a long time. My Dad took Moira out to Folklife on one of the days Walker was stuck at home, and Davis had a long nap at the same time. That was even better.
Jamming duo
Moira has been asking for a guitar for a long time, and we found this Barbie one at the thrift store the other day. Influenced by Folklife, she has started busking around the house, and is a little annoyed that I won't give her real money for her funk inspired version of "It's a Small World."

I have lots of pictures of very interesting thing. Davis playing with other babies, the cupboards I've organized, Moira's fabulous outfit this morning. I'm hopeful that we can get my desktop set up this weekend and, with the help of a thumb drive, I can finally get the pictures from there where I can use them. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WW: Grafitti

Love your neighbor

I'm linked up with Hobo Mama and NPN.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weaning due to anxiety


Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.


One of the things that surprised me about being a gentle parent was that my kid still hits, pinches, and pokes me. She screams, and tries to call me names. Since we don't call her any names, her vocabulary for such things has been pretty limited until quite recently. Usually just "AAAAAAAARGH!" which I admit is something I frequently say to keep from calling her a name. The normal developmental stages of a child will always include a long period where they are working out how to express their frustration, sadness, and anger, and because their vocabulary is limited, it starts with physical expressions. Alfie Kohn reminds parents to treat their kids like they would treat a stranger, but if strangers treated me this way, I would kick them out of my house and call the cops.
It had always been my intention to breastfeed until my kids were at least 2. To get through the stage where they are most likely to either want to eat everything in sight, or not eating anything. One of the major benefits of extended breastfeeding in my mind is that you don't have to worry about caloric intake while your child is still figuring out how to get the food from their plate into their stomach. Moira was one of those ravenous children, frequently eating as much or more then we did at a single meal.
But she also didn't sleep through the night. Even after night weaning she was still waking up three or four times a night at 18 months. And when she woke, it would take over an hour for her to go back to sleep. And because I have insomnia, I frequently couldn't go back to sleep no matter how tired I was. At about the same time as we night weaned, Moira started insisting on only nursing on one side. With her feet in my face.
Almost done
Lack of sleep has always made my anxiety disorder kick in. I started feeling on edge constantly. Every time she touched me, I flinched. It didn't matter that she only wanted to nurse for a few seconds and then run off to play, or eat something. I felt bruised, physically and emotionally. I was crying by the time Walker got home most nights. I knew that one of two things were going to happen, I could wean, or I could break down. So we weaned.
It was actually easier then I expected it to be. She was really interested in food, so offering something else every time she asked to nurse worked pretty well. The next thing I did was to create a nursing chair, which completely (with the exception of a couple of falls) cut out nursing in public. I also really pushed the other things we could do together, reading books, snuggling, and playing together. Then we started spending more of our day out of the house. By the time she was 22 months, she was only nursing once or twice a day, and sometimes not at all. This happened to coincide with my annual weekend with friends, so I just left her at home. When I got back, I think she asked to nurse once or twice more, but that was it. She was happy to accept the fact that they were gone.
We talked a lot about when she nursed while I was pregnant with Davis. At that point she didn't remember it much at all. She did remember that she has "Drank all the nommies up," and that they were gone. She told me a few times, "They were so good, I drank them all up at once! Yum!" After the baby was born, she was really interested in the mechanics of what he was doing and asked to try it again, which I agreed to. The first two times, she didn't get anything, but the third time, she actually figured out how she was supposed to suck, and got a little bit of milk. She was immensely pleased, and asked a couple more times, but always while I was busy, so it never happened again, and she hasn't mentioned it in almost 4 months.
I'm sad that things had to end before she was ready, but I'm glad I did it. Weaning enabled me to stop the panic attacks, the encroaching depression, the anger and resentment I was starting to feel towards her. And she didn't really seem to care, once we got to the end. I know I wouldn't have been a very good mother to her if we had kept going.



Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Next up, I will juggle these flaming rings

It turns out that I can handle this parenting thing with two kids on my own. Well, sort of. My parents are here, and I hired help in the mornings for the days Walker was gone. But I'm doing the bulk of the heavy work, including getting both kids to sleep. Including getting them both to sleep at the same time by myself! That must mean I leveled up or something.
We've learned and all sorts of interesting things since Wednesday.

Davis, meet stroller
Davis likes the stroller. He would also really like us to give him some food already.
Vikings like crafts too
Vikings love crafts. And people in general love little girls in princess dresses and viking helmets.
At the Nordic Heritage Museum
Moira loves interactive exhibits at museums.
The internet occasionally answers your prayers and provides a movie night at a play cafe when you are looking down the long stretch of Friday night. Related to that, Moira can sit through a scary movie (Ratatouille).
Box castles are fun. Especially when someone else does most of the cutting and assembling.
Moira's first bubble tea
Bubble tea (and humbow) are tasty.
Making a spring roll
Anything looks tasty when it's made of felt.
Story time is still fun when you don't understand the language being spoken.
Playing Super Mario
Super Mario Brothers is still fun.
Curly hair!
Curly hair is painful to get, but still worth it.
Moira and Cinderella
If you make a doll out of a balloon, it's probably going to pop.

Tomorrow we are planning to go to the University street fair in the morning. Then Walker should be home after lunch and I can take a nap.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Nice hat!

Like my hat?
(She's wearing a pair of rolled up tights on her head, and insisting that she wants to wear them outside.)

Linking up with NPN and Hobo Mama.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Well, look at that!

I wrote up a lesson plan based on my favorite month from our toddler group, and it's here at Code Name Mama, as part of her Preschool Lesson Plan series. I highly recommend you check out the whole series. There are lots of great ideas there.
Like this
In other news, now that Moira is 4, our babysitter is teaching her to knit. Reportedly, she managed a couple of stitches on her own during the first lesson. Way to go kid!

Friday, May 11, 2012

He's going places

Yeah yeah, Moira turned 4, and I turned 36. But guess who is 5 months old?
What's over there?
This guy! Wait...
Grammy!
Umm....
What?
There he is!
Davis is on the move lately. Hence the baby containment device. Not because he is getting into stuff he shouldn't yet, although he does like to chew on cords. Because his sister is having some issues letting him play with toys. My friend who is loaning this to us had a rule that older kids weren't allowed to touch it while there's a baby in it, and I've decided that that rule is part of the loan.
He is mostly doing the pivot and wiggle system of moving, but he's working hard on crawling. He also loves when we hold him up so he can stand.
He loves to talk, and laugh, and stare at people. He's recently noticed a couple of bald men, and they are apparently fascinating and terrifying. He stares and stares, then bursts into tears, then stares some more. I keep telling him that he doesn't have to look, if he's scared, but he doesn't believe me.
He's discovered his feet, and like most toys, they are going straight into his mouth. Books have also started to head to his mouth, which disturbs his sister greatly.
Oh yeah, here's the real 5 months picture.
5 months

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WW: Moira's birthday

I accidentally deleted most of the pictures my friend Jade took at the party on my camera, so all of these photos are courtesy of Hobo Mama. Thanks Lauren and Sam!
What's in the boxes?
Balloons!
Playing
Birthday girl
Cupcakes
Presents

Bonus baby!
Pumpkin baby

Linked up at Hobo Mama and NPN.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parenting passed through the generations



Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family


This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


***



Play that funky music
This is my Canadian. More commonly known as Willow. She's been my friend since I was 12, and she was 0. She's not technically related to me, but she (and her family) are in all the ways that count.
Her parents met mine when I was 4, and they became fast friends. They joined us on ski trips with our extended family, vacations, and family birthday parties.

I thought Pam was the most glamorous person in the universe and I wanted to be just like her. I mean, look at her, she is all sorts of fabulous. When Pam and Neil started having kids, I was a baby mad teenager. I happily spent weeks and weeks at their house in Canada, playing and reading with their kids, and learning and trying new things. I lived with them for most a year during college. I discovered a love of beets at their house. I learned to quilt, knit, and make jam and lace. I also learned about attachment parenting, breastfeeding, unschooling, and homebirth. I was able to watch all these things in action, done by someone I admired, and see how her children flourished. This has obviously influenced my personal parenting style. I'd have a long list of things I didn't want to do as a parent, thanks to my years as a nanny and baby sitter, but without the examples and guidance Pam and Neil provided over the years, I likely wouldn't have such a good idea of what I DID want to do. I'm especially glad that as a younger sibling myself, I got hands on training with, essentially, some extra sibs of my own.

And now that I have kids, Willow has been returning the favor and staying with us to play and love on them. She has exceptionally good timing, and likes to ask if she can visit at times that happen to coincide with when we need help most. She and I are as close as I am with her parents, and I hope that Moira and Davis will be as close with her and her siblings as I am. I look forward to the future when one of my kids help take care of their kids. I also hope that as Willow moves into the next phase of her life and has less time to visit, one of her sibs wants to come hang out with me.
Hold my hand!
I know I've taught them things too. That you can practice math and spelling with D&D. That you don't have to stop playing pretend games when you hit puberty. But really, what we've learned from each other doesn't matter as much as that we have increased out circles of "people who love us unconditionally."

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child's grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family...
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What's Next can't imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son's life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt... until she remembers what it's actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My 'high-needs' child and 'strangers' — With a 'high-needs' daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter's extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family's summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the "village" even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don't get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must've been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don't have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs-- Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn't an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama's sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We're Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.